During childbirth, women entrust their personal safety, and the safety of their newborn child, completely to the care of their medical care providers. We like to think that these individuals are worthy of that trust and know exactly what they are doing. Unfortunately, medical malpractice does occur, and the consequences can be life-altering for both the mother and the child.
If you think your child may have suffered a birth injury due to malpractice, or you think your own body was injured in some way due to malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation. Sometimes the line between a birth defect and birth injury is hard to distinguish. If you think there is any chance at all that you or your child have been a victim of malpractice, contact us. Our attorneys at Elderkin Law Firm in Erie can help answer your legal questions regarding birth injury.
We understand that you are recovering from the emotional trauma that has resulted from the wrongdoing of their medical care providers. We have the experience and resources to fully and completely evaluate your claim, and present it so that you receive full compensation for your injuries.
We want to hear your case, we want to help you get the results that you deserve. Call our Erie, PA offices at 814-456-4000, send us an email at email@example.com, or fill out one of the contact forms. Talk to us, we can help.
Sometimes the line between those two can be very thin indeed.
A so-called "birth defect" may be the result of entirely natural processes (such as a genetic disease) or the result of a mistake by medical personnel at or around the time of delivery. Sometimes tests are available to determine whether a genetic condition has caused the problem. Sometimes it is necessary to inquire closely into what happened in the delivery room to determine whether the injuries were caused by medical negligence. One benefit of our modern medical care delivery process is that, in most cases, extensive medical records are kept that may help tell the story of what happened. These records are kept by many observers or participants in the birth process, from the physician, who is sort of the "captain of the ship" and decides what happens in the delivery room, to the labor and delivery nurses, anesthetists and others. Some records are created automatically by machines that monitor various aspects of the patient's condition. The process of properly evaluating a claim to determine the cause of the birth injury is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle; it often requires the skill of an experienced team of attorneys and expert medical evaluators to collect and review all the pieces of evidence, so that a complete and thorough assessment of the case can be accomplished.
At Elderkin, we have the resources necessary to evaluate your case. Contact us so we may put our experinced team to work for you.
What is the difference between a birth defect and a birth injury?
A "birth defect" often refers to a condition that was caused naturally, prior to birth. For example, sometimes a bone might be malformed as a natural result of the child developing in the womb, or there might be a genetic condition that causes the condition.
A "birth injury" usually refers to a situation in which the birth process itself causes the injury. This can be the result of the natural birth process, or the result of medical negligence by the attending doctors or nurses.
If I suspect that a doctor made a mistake, who should I talk to first?
The first thing to do is to make sure that your baby is getting the proper medical treatment for whatever problem you notice. If you feel uncomfortable going back to the doctor you suspect made the mistake, find a new doctor whom you can trust.
If you suspect there has been a mistake, you will want to talk with your lawyer as soon as possible, so that proper steps can be taken to secure the evidence of what actually happened before it disappears. In a birth case in particular, there are some medical records that are transient, or may be destroyed as a matter of due course shortly after the treatment in question. Some information may flash up on a screen, and only be there for as long as the doctor needs to look at it. Other information may be recorded, but may only be important for a short period of time, and once that window closes, that information may be discarded. Other information becomes part of the permanent medical record and will be there for a long time.
If you suspect malpractice, you want to be in a position to save as many medical records as possible before they are lost through time or circumstance. It's important to have your legal team on board at the earliest practical date, so that vital information does not fall through the cracks.
Is there a limited amount of time to file a birth injury lawsuit?
In the case of a birth injury, there are several parties that may have a claim. Obviously, the injured infant may have a claim, but the parents may also have their own claims based upon injuries that they themselves sustained. Typically speaking, there is a two-year statute of limitations that runs from the date that wrongful conduct occurred, and you must file a lawsuit against the parties who are responsible within that two-year period. If the child has his or her own claim, the statute of limitations may not bar the claim until two years after the child reaches age 18.
The application of the rules about when claims must be filed can be complicated, and depend upon many factors. Do not assume that your claim is barred just because more than two years has passed since the injuries occurred. But also do not assume that you can safely wait until close to the two-year anniversary. The best course is to discuss your case with an attorney, who can decide what factors are important in your case, and when the claim must be brought. Also, don't forget that it takes time for an attorney to investigate a claim before a lawsuit can be filed. The only safe rule is that it is never too early to consult with legal counsel about your claim, so that critical deadlines do not go by.
What kind of experience do you have in the areas of medical malpractice and birth injuries?
The Elderkin Law Firm has a wide range of experience in just about every type of medical claim that can be made. We have handled all sorts of claims from from prescription errors to catastrophic birth injury cases. Let us put our experienced legal team to work for you.